Ranticles: Way to Make an Impression
Brief background. Winnipeg
proper does not see a lot of tourists wandering the streets. When people come
to Manitoba, it's generally for hunting and fishing (in which case they are
flown to lodges), the lakes (in which case they drive out there), or the
festivals in the city (in which case they are, well, at the festivals).
So, it's not really like you see people gawking at
Winnipeg's sites, and you seldom have encounters with tourists beyond passing
them in the street in which case you can't tell they are tourists. One big
recent exception was a British family that came over and was feted, and they
had a wonderful time and wrote a nice thank you to the city.
My experiences, however, of the last two weeks have sucked.
I'm jinxed, because I never, ever have run-ins with tourists, let alone
obnoxious ones, and now two of them in two weeks; and both from the same region
of the world.
Now before I get into this, I am not tarring all people from
Virginia and all points south with the same brush, because I've had wonderful
work experiences with people from Virginia, and I have friends who live in the
area, so I KNOW these people aren't representative of Southern folks. However,
these people were far from what you'd call genteel southerners.
When I took Aubrey to the zoo last week there was a guy
packing his screaming kids into an SUV with Virginia plates. Oh they were
howling, and one was saying something about wanting to see the animals. The
father, baseball cap and beefy arms, was hollering at them," I ain't givin' my
money to no raghead!" It was surreal.
Turns out the Muslim woman who works concession and the
gates was taking the admissions that day. I hope she didn't hear the guy, and
doubt she did since he was way out in the parking lot, but what a way to spoil
a childs day, packing them off and not letting them in the zoo because
someone whose culture you dislike happens to be the one at the gate (the grand
irony is that isn't the only entrance to the zoo, but I wanted Aubrey to enjoy
his day and the guy was big and angry, so I didn't feel like helping him
Tourist number two, and what prompted this post, was on my
way to Future Shop with Aubrey on the bus. The bus was full, and the two seats
reserved for strollers and wheelchairs were occupied. One, justifiably, by a
wheelchair. The other by a loud woman with a southern accent talking to her
friend (key to tourist identification, the fact she was asking her friend what
kind of nightlife this city had). She didn't budge, despite the fact the bus is
full and I've got people jammed behind me waiting to move to the back. I waited
patiently, but she simply looked right at me, past me, and ignored the fact
people were crammed like sardines behind me.
The bus driver stopped at the next stop even though no one
was waiting, and asked her to move so I could put the stroller in the place
reserved for it (and it's clearly marked with a huge pink sign with a stroller,
right beneath the one for wheelchairs). As she moved, glaring at me, I thanked
her for being so considerate. She didn't stop glaring at me the entire trip, as
if her inconsiderate behaviour were my fault.
Canticle on August 17, 2005.